Repeal of passé ‘anti-bike’ city ordinance pushed

“As I see it, the people are the true champions of the [bike-friendly campaign] here in the city. Damu ta very passionate bikers and bike groups, who see cycling not just as a sport, not just a hobby, but as a lifestyle and a mode of daily transport,” said Wilfredo Sy Jr., director of the Iloilo Bike Festival. PHOTOS BY ATMOS.PH

ILOILO City – This city was proclaimed the “most bike-friendly” in the country during the PhilBike Awards in September last year.

Just recently, however, it was discovered that Iloilo City actually has an ordinance regulating bicycles – and even banning them from certain streets.

The decades-old Regulation Ordinance No. 354 -1982 now runs counter to the movement espousing the use of bikes to promote healthy lifestyle and cleaner environment, sustainable transportation, road sharing and ease traffic congestion, said Councilor Jay Treñas.

It should be repealed together with Regulation Ordinance No. 129-1983 that introduced some amendments to it, he stressed.

The city government’s Public Safety and Transportation Management Office and the Office of the City Mayor recently sent separate letters to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) requesting changes to Regulation Ordinance No. 354 -1982 to make it attuned to current conditions.

The ball is now in the hands of the SP transportation committee headed by Councilor Plaridel Nava. It must weigh the proposals.

A group of around 1,000 bikers made a similar call on March 18 during their “Road to Liberation: Ride for our Rights” activity to mark the 74th Liberation of Panay, Guimaras and Romblon Day.

Regulation Ordinance No. 354 -1982 discouraged biking, they lamented.

The group also pressed the city government and Department of Public Works and Highways to complete the University Loop (bike lane) initiative – a bike lane connecting six universities in the City Proper; it also intends to ensure the safety and protection of students and school personnel who use bikes.

“The city must break free from archaic policies and ordinances that are anti-biker and anti-pedestrian,” said Jai Javier, one of the founders of the Iloilo Folding Bike Riders.

They were willing to collaborate with the city government and other sectors to make Iloilo City a “biker-inclusive, progressive city,” added Javier.

Their group would be launching a signature drive to press for the repeal of Regulation Ordinance 354 -1982. They hope to gather at least a thousand signatures./PN


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